Donut Donation Makes a Big Difference

One person really can make a difference as the sailors at Yokosuka Naval Base in Japan found out on Friday, January 15, 2010.  Brooklynite Carmen Colon wanted to do something for the troops, so she purchased $240 worth of donuts to donate.  But how to get them there?  The USO, of course!

“USO Operation Doughnut Drop” with the USS Shiloh was a huge success.  “It really was a terrific morale-booster,” said Vernichel Tharps, the Director of Programs and Marketing for USO Japan.  Below are some exclusive pictures from this fun, sugar-filled day.  In the immortal words of Homer Simpson: “Donuts. Is there anything they can’t do?”

Anniversary Photos – Henry Fonda

Henry Fonda holds a special place in the heart of many who saw him tour with the USO during the Vietnam War.  Himself a decorated Navy veteran, Fonda put aside personal beliefs and  – as he wrote in his 1981 autobiography My Life – toured with the USO because he believed in supporting the Troops: “It was a trip that this (62)-year-old man didn’t want to take, but I felt I had to…for the guys sweating it out and dying in the rice paddies and jungles.”

But the story doesn’t end there.  In 2004, the USO moved its main operations from the Navy Yard in Washington, DC, to new offices in Arlington, VA.  Among one of the items found during the move was a letter from Fonda to the USO, dated 27 April 1967.  He explained in his distinct handwriting that his USO tour in Vietnam was “the most rewarding experience of my life, and I will be forever grateful that I was given this opportunity.”

The picture below was taken during that tour, as a reporter interviews Fonda.  We thank him for his service.

Trace Adkins Visits Wounded Troops

Trace Adkins performs with the West Point Cadet Glee Club at the 2009 USO Gala. (USO Photo by Dennis Brack)

Country music star Trace Adkins is a huge supporter of the USO.  From performing live with the West Point Cadet Glee Club at the 2009 USO Gala in Washington, DC to visiting wounded troops as part of his work with USO of Metropolitan Washington’s (USO-Metro) celebrity handshake tours at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the National Naval Medical Center at Bethesda, Adkins never hesitates to show he cares.

On Friday, January 29, Adkins sat down for an interview with WMZQ’s “The Boxer Show,” where he had this to say: “It’s awe-inspiring, it’s overwhelming at times,” said Trace Adkins when asked about his experience participating in celebrity handshake tours at area military hospitals. He added, “You are in the presence of heroes, and the courage and determination that those men and women show is humbling. It’s an honor to get to do that.”

Click here to listen to the interview with Trace Adkins on WMZQ!

Trace Adkins shows his support with Handshake Tours, sponsored by USO of Metropolitan Washington. (USO Photo by Crystal Benton)

These handshake tours boost morale and provide a celebrity tour of a different kind to Troops who are recovering from their injuries – the families and friends who care for them.  Last year alone, USO-Metro hosted over 130 entertainers on these tours at area military hospitals, including Walter Reed Army Medical Center, the National Naval Medical Center and Warrior Transition Units at Fort Meade, Fort Belvoir and the McGuire Richmond VAMC.

We are grateful for the tireless work of Trace Adkins…and we love his music!  To show your support, and to learn more about USO of Metropolitan Washington, please visit www.usometro.org.

Anniversary Photos

Chaplain Saul Parker 8th U.S. Army Support Command accompanies his assistant Specialist 4 Ronald Hirsch in a folk song duet which is being taped to send home. The tape is one of 400 three-inch reels donated by Audio Devices, Inc., of New York to the USO in Korea. The USO supplies the tapes free-of-charge to visiting servicemen and sends the tapes to the servicemen's homes in the USA. (Seoul, Korea - July 22, 1966 - Photo by Specialist 5 Gordon Hart)

Washington Nationals Show They Care

As their 2010 Winter Caravan rolled into Fort Belvoir, the Washington Nationals faced a daunting task: getting hundreds and hundreds of Operation USO Care Packages stuffed and ready to send to deploying troops. Luckily they had support in the form of Wounded Warriors, a JROTC group, USO Metro staff and volunteers and – of course – Screech, their mascot.

Prospects Danny Espinosa and Drew Storen, current player Ryan Speier, manager Jim Riggleman, Nationals Senior VP & General Manager Mike Rizzo, and Mid-Atlantic Sports Network Analyst Rob Dibble got the job done, dropping toiletries, snacks, games, and other items into the USO’s signature Care Package bags and showing their fans and new friends a great time along the way.

Here’s a photo essay recapping this great event.  Look for video soon!

The USO warehouse at Fort Belvoir is home to Operation USO Care Package. (USO Photo by Em Hall)

Nats' players and prospects lined up next to Troops as they stuffed the care packages. (USO Photo by Em Hall)

Screech and members of the Hayfield Secondary School JROTC get the job done. (USO Photo by Em Hall)

A view from the top as players and volunteers work the assembly line. (USO Photo by Em Hall)

Screech takes a stretch while Espinosa keeps on going. (USO Photo by Em Hall)

Nationals Manager Jim Riggleman is interviewed for On Patrol magazine. (USO Photo by Em Hall)

It didn't matter if you were wearing a baseball jersey or fatigues: teamwork was the spirit of the day! (USO Photo by Em Hall)

The Care Packages were flying fast and furious as volunteers whisked them down the line. (USO Photo by Em Hall)

Colonel Jerry L. Blixt, the Garrison Commander at Fort Belvoir greets a JROTC volunteer. (USO Photo by Em Hall)

Boots vs. Cleats: who would win? We go with boots! (USO Photo by Em Hall)